RANKIN (KDKA) — Tuesday was a perfect day for a Fourth of July picnic. But for a gathering in Rankin — it was much more.
Marcus Clay organized the event as both a tribute, and a fundraiser for two of his best friends. In the past year, both of them lost their lives in gun-related violence.
On July 4 last year, 28-year old James Swanson was shot to death in Pittsburgh’s Fineview neighborhood. Police still haven’t made an arrest.
And, three months ago, 29-year old Dorian Daye died in Hawkins Village. His family believes his shooting was an accident. The Medical Examiner ruled it a suicide.
“This fundraiser I’m holding is called ‘The Ones Left Behind From Gun Violence,’” Clay told KDKA-TV’s Ralph Iannotti. “Now they have two kids left behind without a father. They were my best friends. We had a pact, that if anything happened to any of us, that we would take care of each other.”
Daye was described as fun-loving and outgoing. He attended Woodland Hills High School. He left behind a 5-month-old son.
“I’m still grieving at this point, therapy has helped a lot,” Daye’s father, Dorian Daye Sr., said. “Family and friends also helped.”
Swanson left behind a 9-year-old daughter, Jai-onna.
“My son went to the city, where he thought it was OK,” Swanson’s father, Russell Hawes, said. “He thought it was safe, where he thought he had a lot of friends outside of Rankin, but unfortunately, his life was taken due to gun violence.”
There was camaraderie at the picnic, nod cake, and lots of memories to share about two young men, James Swanson and Dorian Daye.
And no escaping the fact of what the men left behind.
“Put those guns away, that’s all I can say,” Daye said. “Get into church.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the children of the two Rankin men: GoFundMe.com/zp7evy-the-ones-left-behind